Review of Australian aid initiatives in the Pacific aimed at ending violence against women

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Stella Mukasa, Jennifer McCleary-Sills, Brian Heilman & Sophie Namy

Violence against women (VAW) is a global epidemic that infringes on the rights of women and girls and has a devastating impact on their lives, families, and communities. The percific island countries have some of the highest rates of violence against women in the world, and acceptance of this violence is pervasive. Despite growing attention to the issue over the last few decades, such violence remains a significant threat to millions of women and girls, and a burden on the health, justice, and social sectors of governments.

To strengthen its programming to end violence against women, Australia’s former Agency for International Development (AusAID), now Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), commissioned the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) in 2012 to conduct a review of the relevance and effectiveness of four violence against women initiatives in Fiji, Vanuatu and PNG. The purpose of this review was to improve the Australian aid program’s ability to make strategic investments in efforts to prevent and respond to violence against women in the Pacific region by assessing four initiatives that were selected based on their previous promising results and potential to inform future work to end violence against women in the Pacific.

The review provides actionable lessons and recommendations on how resources should be allocated and which programs should be supported and/or scaled up in order to: fill gaps in programmatic relevance and effectiveness both within existing and new partner initiatives; strengthen the design and implementation strategies of ongoing initiatives; and replicate and expand the reach of the most promising strategies for ending violence against women.